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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 32798
Experience:  12+ yrs. of legal experience.
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New question I had an informal Internet hosting arrangement

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New question: I had an informal Internet hosting arrangement with some business acquaintances who operated a web host company. Their business has been purchased and the new owner now wants to collect back charges from me at his new rates. I didn't sign anything with him. My only agreement was with the former owners, nothing signed that I recall... an exchange of e-mail messages. Those messages may no longer exist. What existed was about nine years of ongoing practice between us; a minimal billing each year and I paid my domain renewals. The new owner never informed me of changes, offered options... simply cut off service and demanded money when I contacted them for tech support. His communications have been extraordinarily caustic and unprofessional. He has sent my "bill" to collections and threatens to take me to small claims court. <br /> <br />Sorry, folks, this was not supposed to go into the employment law category!<br /><br />$30 answer is not a problem. Need to know if this person has any recourse against me without an agreement, do I need to have an attorney reply for me, or whatever you determine I need to know. Thanks.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

TO to force you to pay there must be an the rates you paid under the old owner will apply until the new owner takes over and posts the new rates. At that time the new rates apply, not before.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I had a followup question. What if anything should I say to the collection agency, and what about this treat to go to small claims?

It seems to me that he has broken any contract that existed, by shutting off service. He has never informed me of a rate change, sent a bill or a warning. My first notice was when the sites didn't work: I contacted tech support and was answered with a demand for money; for a new hosting arrangement. The character and tone of the message told me I did not want to continue the relationship; but in any case he never proposed new rates to me, not even after the cutoff.

My question is how to protect myself from this collection demand and from small claims. What needs to be said to these individuals and companies?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 5 years ago.
If you do not owe the money you can refuse to pay. If they sue you, then you can present you case to the court. The only way they can force you to pay is if you owe the money...if you can prove they did not have a contract, they are going to be able to get a judgment in small claims court.
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